Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Rental Power Plants: Bringing Reliable Power to Islands

Keeping islands supplied with reliable electricity comes with several challenges for island power utility providers.

Islands around the world have been experiencing a constant increase in local population and electricity utilization in the past decades, taking its toll on the local permanent power infrastructure. This is not helped by the seasonal rise in population during high tourism months, which creates a momentary but significant spike in electricity demand.

In light of this, the local permanent power stations that supply electricity to the islands have been failing to keep up with the continuous rise in power requirements, particularly in peak summer months, when residents use the most electricity and when tourists come flocking to the islands. A possible solution is to import electricity from the mainland or from other islands in the area, but the wide distance poses significant difficulties in moving reliable electricity.

On top of this is the issue of power plant operation and maintenance. As the local power plants age and become less efficient, they have increasingly been requiring enormous amounts of servicing and fuel, which adds to the cost of running them, hitting customers in the pocket.

In recognition of the urgent need to expand the power generation capacity and to improve the power infrastructure of islands, there has been a keen interest on building alternative power systems, particularly of renewables, but initiatives in this regards have been met with headwinds.

Not a one-size-fits-all solution

There are several observed obstacles to building renewable energy systems in islands.

First, there is the location. For instance, an island with a large population will require the most amount of electricity, but will have a limited space for wind or solar energy systems; while an island with fewer people may have more sites for renewable energy infrastructure, but may find it difficult to attract and secure investments owing to projected limited demand. A proposed solution is to move electricity between islands, but this is not possible in all cases, and building power transmission and distribution lines across huge distances will require a sizeable amount of capital expenditure.

Furthermore, renewables, like sunshine and wind, may not always be available in all sites, making the electricity production of renewable energy facilities highly intermittent. For example, the output of a wind farm will depend on the constant changes in wind speed and direction, and that of a photovoltaic system may fluctuate as clouds pass. The power generated by hydroelectric systems will vary with the amount of rainfall and the flow of streams.

Storing “as-available” energy maybe a possible solution, but, again, building energy storage facilities will be cost-prohibitive and will add to the price of electric power.

Support from firm electricity sources

In support of intermittent electricity sources, island power utility providers need firm energy sources, which are available on-demand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to meet their customers’ energy needs. Island power utilities will find benefits in partnering with multi-megawatt temporary power providers to supply reliable electricity anytime and anywhere it is needed.

Temporary power plants can be deployed at a moment’s notice and can be easily installed to start supplying electricity in a matter of days. The generators that make up the plants are containerized so they can be easily delivered as complete power packages anywhere in the world, even in remote areas. They are also modular, which means they can fit a wide variety of site lay-outs, and do not need to be laid out on a huge space. They also have low-noise and low-emission operations, so situating them within the vicinity of residential areas and tourist spots will not pose a huge issue.

The latest-technology temporary power plants can be easily connected to the existing local power infrastructure in islands, and can generate power either in synchronization with the local power generation plants or as a standalone system. They are flexible in power and voltage, and their electricity output can be scaled up or down to meet islands’ varying electricity demand.

Hiring temporary power plants will not require a sizable capital expenditure, and owing to their operational reliability and fuel efficiency will considerably reduce the operating and maintenance expenses of island utility providers.

New demand, new power sources

Island power utility providers are hard at work at meeting the perceived challenges of supplying reliable power to islands. Island utilities are gradually developing renewable energy projects where possible, adding power lines and substations needed for such projects, and working on improving energy storage technologies that will allow them to add more renewable energy to the grid. As island power utilities optimize renewable energy technologies to enhance their long-term reliability and overall power quality, other alternative power sources, such as multi-megawatt rental power plants, are ready to support the electricity needs of islands around the world, delivering reliable electricity anytime and anywhere it is needed.

For more information on temporary power solutions, visit


Altaaqa Global
Tel: +971 56 1749505

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